Thiruvananthapuram: Yesterday, the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan said that his Government will not implement the Church Act, which was mooted by the Law Reform Commission to bring transparency in to the administration and management of assets held by the different Christian denominations.
He added that the Commission, headed by former justice of the Supreme Court K. T. Thomas, prepared the Kerala Church (Properties and Institutions)Bill, 2019, without any consultation with the Government.
The bill is widely believed to be instrumental in bringing transparency and ending the mismanagement of funds coming under different churches.
However, the Christian Churches fear that the bill will be used by the government to meddle in the administration of their assets and might lead to the eventual takeover of church property.
The draft bill had proposed setting up of a Church Tribunal by the government `to give judgement in disputes regarding funds and assets of the church.
Christian churches came down heavily against the bill and warned of severe agitation if the government intends to implement it.
Pinarayi Vijayan, who took a strong stand against the wishes of the Hindu community in Sabarimala issue, backtracked when all the powerful Churches in Kerala threatened of protests.
Pinarayi’s statement comes one week after the CPI(M) State Secretary, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan tried to pacify the Churches. On March 1, Kodiyeri said that there were no plans by the government to go ahead with the bill.
After the recent Sabarimala issue, the communist party fears a backlash from the Hindu community. The last thing the top leadership of the party want is a mass protest from the Christian Churches. The party cannot afford to lose the support of the minorities before the Lok Sabha elections.
Interestingly, while the Churches are claiming that no member of their respective denomination want the Church Bill, there are many voices coming from within the Christian community in support of the bill.